COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)– Big Brothers Big Sisters has changed lives here in Central Ohio and across the nation. The threat of COVID-19 created a challenge for those bigs and littles, but they’re determined to keep the relationships alive, even if its through a computer screen.
“They’ve been super creative in ways staying connected.”
Megan Vance is a ‘Match Specialist’ with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio and she is usually on the calls with her pairs since they’ve transitioned to the computers.
“Three way phone calls, zoom, google hangouts, other virtual platforms,” explained Vance.
The organization has experimented with all kinds of technology and have utilized everything there is out there.
“I enjoy the relationship we’ve been able to build and for me it gives me a sense of purpose.” Victoria Fisher has been a “big” for about a year now and hasn’t looked back. She looks forward to hr weekly “zoom” calls with her little, Rhylin.
At first, Fisher says because all of this happened so fast and so abruptly, she was worried what her future with Rhylin would look like.
“I was very nervous because I thought it would be hard to relate over video chat and also made me nervous because I wasn’t sure we would be able to do this .” explained Fisher. “I was nervous we wouldn’t have closure but we started writing letters back and forth first.”
“Seeing them talking on the videos have been sweet they are so talkative,” noted Vance.
Since the two started talking online, they have played “Uno,” had free throw competitions, and even some dance offs.
Fisher says that scheduling has been the biggest challenge. She used to always know a certain day of the week and time was her big little session but not its all about finding time that works for both of them to get a call or Zoom in around her new situation at home.
“It was rewarding to see the impact you have one them in the short amount of time,” explained Fisher.
BBBS has an entire page of resources for the pairs to connect and new activities to keep the little ones engaged over a call. Plus, they have listed providers that are offering free internet for a limited time. This will help those families that don’t have access to fast wifi.
In the wake of the recent events across the nation, the organization is also providing some more tools and resources for the children. Mentor National is providing some tools to support young people in the wake of trauma an violence. They have also outlined some training’s and activities to help the pairs with their connections during this trying time.